The rest of the action from the final day of The William Hill St Leger Festival

Spring Loaded (12-1) shot clear to land the opening William Hill Portland Stakes on the final day of the William Hill St Leger Festival.

Paul D’Arcy’s sprinter left the field trailing behind him in the closing stages as he went through the gears to record a three and a half length win.

Vibrant Chords (7-1f) came home second with Justanotherbottle (22-1) close behind in third. Lexington Abbey (10-1) finished fourth.

Winning jockey Joey Haynes said: “He’s done it so easily. He’s got a great lead into the race and when I’ve asked him to go he’s picked up brilliantly. Fantastic horse.”

Seahenge kicked off a big-race double for Aidan O’Brien with victory in the Group 2 Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes.

Donnacha O’Brien got the 8-1 shot rolling late on as Seahenge got the better of Hey Gaman (6-1) by a neck.

O’Brien said: “We’re delighted with him. He did well to win that. Donnacha won on him on his maiden and gave him the same kind of ride over six furlongs. This was obviously seven today and they didn’t go very fast so he did very well.

“He’s a fine horse, a very high quality horse to be able to do that. He won first time out this year and very few of ours have been doing that. He learnt a lot at Goodwood and Ryan said when he turned in that day he was very green. But obviously he’s come forward from that.”

Westerland (13-8f) got back to winning ways in a thrilling battle with Regimented (9-2) in the Napoleans Casinos & Restaurants Nursery Handicap Stakes.

John Gosden’s colt stuck on gamely to defeat his rival by a short head.

Gosden: “It’s good to see Frankie Dettori can still get them up on the line! Khalidi won this last year, it’s a nice nursery.

“Very pleased, I think the cheekpieces have helped him, he’s gone and won his race and was giving 2lb to the second.”

Kryptos (9-2) gave jockey Nicola Currie a big victory as he took victory in the P J Towey Construction Ltd Handicap Stakes.

Kryptos ran on well to comfortably keep 11-4 favourite Battered at bay.

Currie said: “He’s so straightforward, that’s the best bit about him. Just get a bit of cover and settle him in behind. You know where you are with him; he’s carried me the whole way there.

“We knew there wasn’t much pace so I didn’t want to jump too well and have no cover but it’s worked out lovely and I’ve just had to squeeze him to the line.

“I was always conscious that Ryan Moore might just come and get us being on the favourite! It’s my first season really riding and to even sit on a horse like this is great. Mr Berry has given me so much support this year.

“When you go out and you know he trusts you, you ride at your best.”

Game Starter (5-6f) showed he was still improving when landing the closing Marra Falcons Handicap Stakes under Oisin Murphy.

The Godolphin colt readily put the race to bed to run out an impressive winner. Amazing Red (11-2) ran on strongly for second.

Winning jockey Murphy said: “He’s a lovely big horse for the future and I hope I’m not wrong but I think you’ll be hearing more about him as time goes on.

“I think he’s a horse that if he stays in one piece, can definitely go onto bigger and better things.”

Capri reigns supreme in The William Hill St Leger

Capri heaped misery on the bookies as he toughed it out to win a thrilling renewal of the William Hill St Leger.

The 3-1 favourite held on in the hands of Ryan Moore to fight off the challenges of Crystal Ocean (5-1) and Stradivarius (9-2).

It was a fifth win in the Classic for trainer Aidan O’Brien who said: “Ryan gave him a class ride. He’s a horse with a lot of class and when Ryan really wanted him to he gave it to him. He gave him a great ride.

“He’s probably a mile and a half horse, we saw today that he has a great deal of courage and stamina but also plenty of class.

“He had a blip at York so we were a little bit worried as we thought he would improve a bit from the run. We’d had it in our head that we’d look at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after as he’s in that. But obviously the lads will decide what they want to do.”

Sir Michael Stoute was thrilled with the run of Crystal Ocean in second.

He said: “He ran a great race, we’re thrilled with him. I thought he was going to win but we won’t run him beyond a mile and a half again.

“It was always a danger (that he wouldn’t stay). We saw in those mile and a half races that that’s his trip. It was a lovely ride, I always felt he might win.

“Jim (Crowley) reported that he was always pretty confident on him but he was just outstayed.”

John Gosden saddled Stradivarius to finish third and Coronet who came home fifth.

Gosden said: “It was a proper St Leger, they went a proper gallop. Stradivarius hit the front and then got a bit left on his own, but that’s life.

“He’s run a great race. and the little filly (Coronet) was on the back of Capri but the boys were a little bit strong over the last furlong when they’d gone that pace. It was pretty relentless stuff.

“Stradivarius could run at Ascot (QIPCO Long Distance Cup) as long as the heavens don’t open.”

“It’s been a fantastic first year of our sponsorship of the St Leger Festival,” said William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams.

“However, we were definitely praying for a different winner of the St. Leger itself.  Capri was probably in our top three worst horse racing results all year”

William Hill make Capri 5/1 for next year’s Ascot Gold Cup – and 16/1 for this year’s Arc.

The total attendance at the four day William Hill St Leger Festival was over 60,000.


Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Total
2011 5477 14617 9568 25572 55,234
2012 5037 13385 8801 31396 58,619
2013 5796 14446 10691 30,023 60,956
2014 6,259 14,584 11,034 30,032 61,909
2015 6,600 16,407 11,964 30,454 65,425
2016 6,344 15,056 12,038 26,577 60,015
2017 6,352 14,043 11,320 28,621 60,336

Aclaim takes Group 2 honours in the Alan Wood Plumbing and Heating Park Stakes

Aclaim (3-1) got up close home under Oisin Murphy to land the Group 2 Alan Wood Plumbing And Heating Park Stakes.

Martyn Meade’s four-year-old went one better than his previous start when he finished a narrow second to Brando in the Prix Maurice de Gheest.

Murphy settled Aclaim in behind early leader Home Of The Brave and when push came to shove, he showed a great attitude to stick his head in front.

Nathra (13-2) held on to second having come through with what looked like a winning run on the far side, while Home Of The Brave (9-4f) battled back to take third.

Meade said: “He’s definitely going the right way, we are really looking for a Group 1 win for him. That’s our main ambition. He’s won a couple of Group 2s now so hopefully he can step up.

“We’ll be going back to France for the Prix de la Foret. He’s just shown today that he can be ridden anywhere.

“I think he was pretty impressive there and he came through at any time he wanted to. The ground will be fine in France, he can act on any ground and the seven furlongs is clearly what he wants. He doesn’t quite get a mile.”

Desert Skyline swoops late to land the Group 2 Doncaster Cup

Desert Skyline showed his staying power as he charged home to land the Group 2 Doncaster Cup.

David Elsworth’s three-year-old is not eligible to run in Saturday’s William Hill St Leger as he is gelded, so he instead took on his elders and emerged triumphant.

Last year’s winner Sheikhzayedroad hit the front two furlongs out but Thomas Hobson and Clever Cookie were following behind.

However, Silvestre De Sousa and Desert Skyline (2-1f) swooped late to claim top honours and foil Ryan Moore and Thomas Hobson (4-1). Sheikhzayedroad (5-1) was third.

Elsworth said: “I was pleased with him because he’s only a three-year-old and he’s got a weight concession. But it’s tough out there. People don’t realise.

“It’s not like driving a car round the M25 where you just pull out and go! It looked like that but they’ve got to dig deep and work hard. For a horse that is still immature, he’s tough and went by them well.

“I’m really pleased with him.”

Thomas Hobson bounced back to form coming home second after a disappointing run at York last time.

Owner Rich Ricci said: “He ran very well there. It was always going to be tough giving Desert Skyline weight.

“I don’t know about Melbourne. I’ll talk to Ryan and Willie. He qualifies now but we’ll have to see as we have Max Dynamite coming out in the next couple of weeks.

“It’s a big punt Melbourne. It’s expensive and you want to make sure you go there with a fighting chance so I don’t know but he certainly ran well and better than the last day.”

William Hill cut Desert Skyline to 8-1 (from 20-1) for the QIPCO Long distance Cup. Thomas Hobson remains unchanged at 16-1 for the Melbourne Cup.

Heartache wins a thrilling renewal of the Group 2 Wainwright’s Flying Childers Stakes

Heartache showed plenty of heart to get the better of Havana Grey in a classy renewal of the Wainwrights Flying Childers Stakes.

Karl Burke’s Havana Grey flew out of the gates and coming into the final furlongs looked as if he would be hard to pass with Heartache under pressure on the far side under Ryan Moore.

But the filly kept finding more for Moore, and as she and Havana Grey drew clear of the field, it was Clive Cox’s filly that had the upper hand as they crossed the line.

Heartache (6-4) scored by half a length from Havana Grey (EvensF) with a further four and a half lengths back to May Girl (10-1) in third.

Cox said: “She’s had a nice time since she ran in the Prix Robert Papin, she didn’t come back 100 per cent from there and we’ve had the chance to get her in tip-top order.

“She’s grown and developed over that time too and that was a really pleasing performance. Karl’s horse (Havana Grey) is a special horse in his own right and we were clear of the third so I’m really thrilled with her.

“She’s going the right way and has got a lovely temperament. She’s very quick; I think she could get six furlongs. We haven’t got anything to lose giving it a go but in the meantime she’s very effective over five.

“I think with the way she’s developed and grown she’s an awfully nice filly to look forward to for next year as well.

“She could be a Commonwealth Cup filly for next year if she gets six. She’s just a joy to deal with. It’s great for The Hot to Trot Syndicate too, they’re great to deal with and full of enthusiasm and it is great fun to have a winner for them especially at this level.

“The Cheveley Park would be the only possibility for the rest of the season, so we’ll see how she comes back from here.

“Ryan was really pleased with her and the only reason Adam (Kirby) wasn’t on her today was because he can’t do the weight. Ryan was a more than able deputy, and I’m delighted to have him.”

Music Box wins the Group 3 Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes

Music Box (8-1) showed a great attitude under Ryan Moore to land the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes at Doncaster racecourse.AK0_1641

Aidan O’Brien’s filly came into the race in good form having won a Listed contest at Galway before following that up with two placed efforts in Group 3 contests.

She finally bagged her Group win at the fifth attempt as she ran on strongly down the far side and was always holding her rivals as they approached the finish.

Eternally (6-1) ran on well to finish second, a length behind the winner, with Tomyris (11-2) in third. Talaayeb, the 7-2 favourite, was fourth.

Kevin Buckley, Coolmore representative, said: “Ryan was happy, they went a decent pace and she ran on well off the back of it.

“Her form has been good since Galway with two Group 3 places since then, so it was nice to get that one in the bag.

“We’ll get her home and see how she comes out of it before deciding on anything else.

“Let’s not forget that was her 16th start since March this year! She’s been a busy girl but she’s tough and a good looking filly.”


Rest of the action from day two of The William Hill St Leger Festival

Georgia Cox got Ladies Day off to a flyer as she steered Paul Midgley’s Buccaneers Vault (9-1) to victory in the opening DFS Silk Series Lady Riders’ Handicap Stakes.

Cox produced the gelding with a winning run in the final furlong and he galloped all the way to the line to hold off the fast-finishing Kenny The Captain (4-1f) with Paddy Power (14-1) back in third.
Cox said: “He is very straightforward to ride and he took me into the race really well.

“Mr Midgley was very confident about his chances and actually told me he’d win, so full credit to him. He was a bit fresh out of the stalls and we met a little bit of trouble, but it didn’t seem to bother him.”

Karl Burke’s Ellthea (8-1) left her recent form behind her to run out an impressive winner of the EBF British stallions Studs “Carrie Red” Fillies’ Nursery Handicap Stakes.

Burke’s filly had come up short in higher grades following her Carlisle win and she took advantage of the drop in class as she drew clear of 7-4 favourite Clubbable with ease. She’s Different (5-1) ran on for third.

Burke said: “She’s been in season nearly all year. At home and at the races she’s been very agitated. It’s the first time since Carlisle that she’s not been in season. She probably wasn’t ready for the race in France at that stage.

“There’s a Listed race over in Ireland over a mile that she’ll probably go to next.”

The formidable team of Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni were celebrating yet another victory at Doncaster as Laugh A Minute won the Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes.

Varian’s colt was without a win in three starts going into the race, but quickly shed his maiden tag with a stylish performance.

Laugh A Minute (12-1) came home clear of Danzan (12-1) and Alba Power (9-1).

Feliz Lepeudry, pupil assistant to Varian, said: “He did that really well. He needed his previous runs and the step back in trip helped.

“The orders were to sit at the back and be patient which Andrea did really well. Roger Varian congratulates Sheikh Mohammed Obaid and all his staff, it’s lovely to see these colours here today and we hope it will continue this week.

“We’ll see how the form works out, Roger and the lads always thought a bit of him. He’s shown enough at home but the betting didn’t really believe in us.”

Atzeni recorded a quick double as Euginio (11-4) won  the Handicap Stakes.

Richard Hannon’s colt held off the late challenge of Another Eclipse (5-2J).

Hannon said: “He’s been a slow horse to come to hand. He’s in the Cambridgeshire but I think next year will be his year.

“He’s always been a lovely big strong horse. You struggle to see when he’s fit as he carries a lot of weight on him. This track suits him as he takes his time to get going but he’s really next year’s horse.

“He worries me slightly that he runs around a bit and just does enough in patches, whether he might need headgear or not we’ll see. It might help him and it’s another option but he’s done enough today for me.”

What A Home (Evs) wrapped up another top day of racing with a win in the Breeders’ Series EBF Fillies’ Handicap Stakes.

William Haggas’ three-year-old continued on her upward curve coming home clear of Pacharana (12-1) in second.

Winning jockey Paul Hanagan said: She did well because there wasn’t that much pace on. She took a bit of a grip early on but when she got going she showed a great attitude.

“She’s an improving filly and has a good mind so onwards and upwards.”